Up until recently, I considered sex to be penal-vaginal intercourse (PVI), lesbian sex to be cunnilingus, and gay sex to be penal-anal intercourse. That seems to be the standard construction of sexuality in today's society. This construction, I believe, is very problematic in many ways, and, thus, I've begun to deconstruct it and examine it deeper.
I definitely think everyone's personal definition of sex should be different. However, even if this is true, there's still going to be a concept of sex as defined by society, and the whole PVI=sex thing is highly problematic. As a society, it's time to get over the systems of oppression that impact our personal sexualities, especially as we grow up, discovering ourselves, our bodies, love, and pleasure, all within a greater social context. Perhaps the best definition of sex is none at all, and it's time that we abandon the question all together.
On the personal level, I'm still trying to figure out what sex is to me. In general, I seem to be content with the idea that sex is any sort of genital contact: genital-genital, mouth-genital, hand-genital, toy-genital, etc. However, there really is a lot more to this...
- Is orgasm and/or sexual pleasure important? What about all those times I engaged in sex and got no sexual pleasure out of it, but was satisfied in other ways? What about sex where not all the partners are receiving stimulation? What if none of the partners orgasm?
- Is physical contact an important part of sex? What about people who can reach orgasm and/or get sexual pleasure without physical stimulus?
- How about physical stimulus that does not include the genitals? What about people who can reach orgasm with their nipples or other parts of their body? What about disabled people who do not have sensation in their genitals or are incapable of using their genitals for sex?
- Is intimacy an integral part of sex? What is intimacy? Are one-night stands intimate?
- Is it sex if it's not consensual? Is rape really sex?
- Is masturbation sex? I refuse to make a value judgment on masturbation, and I hate the construction of sex as greater than masturbation. Still, I am uncertain if masturbation is a type of sex or not sex at all.
- Is it sex of your partners have a different definition of sex than you? Are you having sex if the people you're with don't think it's sex?
- What's the relationship between sex and virginity? Can you have sex and still be a virgin? Can you lose your virginity without having sex? Are there multiple virginities? (Is the concept of virginity an inherently sexist ideal?)